Friday, May 18, 2012

North Carolina Amendment 1 exit polling?

++Addition++Inductivist looks at predictors of support for and opposition to same-sex marriage.

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I didn't get around to looking at the exit polling on North Carolina's recently passed Amendment 1 defining marriage as exclusively existing between one man and one woman last week after the vote had taken place. Finally getting around to doing so now, I'm taken aback in finding out that apparently no exit polling was conducted (although multiple articles written on the day of the vote reference what early exit poll results are showing). This led to a bit of controversy when Politico writer Joseph Williams erroneously asserted that:
African-Americans voted 2-1 in favor of the North Carolina amendment banning gay marriage Tuesday, but the White House is betting that black voters there and beyond will stick with the president, despite broad resistance to legalization.
Opinion polling conducted ahead of the vote found that 60%-65% of black North Carolinians planned to back the amendment, which is presumably how Williams (who is black) came up with the 2-to-1 margin. Black electoral behavior on California's Proposition 8 created a bit of embarrassment for the Establishment and its SWPL sympathizers, so we really shouldn't be too surprised that the data weren't collected this time around.

Opposition to same-sex marriage, a concept that wasn't even in the public's consciousness a decade ago (the GSS queried respondents about it in 1988 and found 12% of the population in support), has been steadily and rapidly eroding since it became a 'hot button' issue several years ago to such an extent that it is difficult to see its eventual widespread adoption as anything but inevitable.

In line with public awareness, the GSS resurrected the question on same-sex marriage in 2004 and has posed it every time the survey has been conducted since then. The proceeding graph shows support by race over that period of time, with those expressing no opinion one way or the other excluded (ie, 40% support, 40% opposition, 20% neutral is expressed as 50% support).

Even the 2010 data are becoming dated, though, as a recent Pew poll finds that opposition among both blacks and whites has dropped substantially in the last four years. However, the Pew graphs and tables show support and opposition separately, without accounting for those who are on the fence, insinuating that opposition and support (alternatively and respectively) are higher than they actually are (ie, showing black opposition at 49% in 2012 creates the perception that black support runs at 51%, when in actuality it is probably in the upper thirties). Hence the total exclusion of fence sitters in the graph below:


The annual Asian sample floats around 50 for each year so should be seen only as suggestive.

Getting overly editorial, I'm tired of hearing about gay marriage, which is probably what the LGBTSDFLSDFKLJSDGH activist movement is banking on, even though my opposition is of the anti-anti-gay more than it's of the pro-sanctity of marriage variety. If the mainstream right wants to try and create a wedge between blacks and Obama on it, which is an effort as doomed to failure as all the other attempts to get NAMs to side with the GOP on account of social issues are, if it has enough of a short-term, on-the-margins impact to tilt the general election against Obama, more power to it, I guess.

GSS variables used: MARHOMO(1-2)(4-5), RACECEN1(1)(2)(4-10)(15-16), YEAR

6 comments:

Jokah Macpherson said...

The NC Board of Elections has data on how people voted down to the precinct level. My precinct opposed the amendment by a nearly 10 to 1 margin.

This did not surprise me, as leading up to the election, I saw hundreds of signs opposing the amendment and none supporting it, yet come May 8 the amendment passed. It was a real "Everyone I know voted for McGovern" moment.

Although your post focuses on blacks, I think at this point it is really more of a rural-urban divide. All of the counties in NC supported the amendment except for the top two urban centers, the ones containing SWPL meccas Chapel Hill and Asheville, and the one with Boone where there are about as many college students as there are regular residents. Notably, the western counties in the mountains, which are mostly white, still supported the amendment.

The derision heaped upon the rural people in the aftermath of the vote was shameful. Even the governor got into the act with her "Mississippi" comment. Like you, I don't have strong opposition to same sex marriage, but let's get real, this is not about "protecting families," as its advocates say, it's a symbolic milestone of cultural acceptance with little real world impact.

Anonymous said...

Opposition to same-sex marriage, a concept that wasn't even in the public's consciousness a decade ago (the GSS queried respondents about it in 1988 and found 12% of the population in support), has been steadily and rapidly eroding since it became a 'hot button' issue several years ago


The power of the governmental-media complex is still impressive to behold. It's difficult to turn on your TV set these days without having a morality tale about the goodness of gay people hammered into your brain.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Yeah, the same-sex marriage phenomenon is something to behold. Public sentiment on other 'social' issues like immigration, abortion, gun ownership, and affirmative action have remained pretty steady or even moved slightly in the conservative direction over the last couple of decades, while gay marriage emerged from the blue, and then immediately demanded--and quickly received--public support.

Anonymous said...

Nobody really cares about gay marriage. Very few people are gay and very few of them even want to get married. So people are just sick of hearing the stupid crap, so they just say fine, whatever.

Immigration, gun ownership, etc., have real impact on lots of people. So, heck yeah, people care.

Anonymous said...

gay marriage emerged from the blue, and then immediately demanded--and quickly received--public support.


You have a funny idea of "public support". Gay marriage still loses every time people are allowed to vote on it, even in very liberal states.

Audacious Epigone said...

Don't know if those last two anonymous commenters are the same person, but the comments go pretty well together. Good point(s).